{2jtab: Movie Review}

Attack the Block - Movie Review


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4 stars

Turf wars get extraterrestrialized in Writer/Director Joe Cornish’s Attack the Block.  The film is rich in concrete jungle atmosphere and gritty laughs making its urban dynamics so grossly enjoyable.  Energetic in its attempts to recapture the spirit of the 1980’s low-budget horror/comedy genre, the modern tweakings done to its Critters meets Stand By Me vibe is a welcome celebration of gore and comedy and effects that are real and practical and never, blatantly CGI.  It’s another homerun from the Edgar Wright Camp.

After mugging their neighbor Sam (Jodie Auckland Whittaker) while on her way home from work, a gang of street thugs, led by Moses (John Boyega), chase down and kill a funny-looking creature on Bonfire Night in South London.  Fascinated by their kill, the boys - Pest, Dennis, Jerome, Biggz and Moses – decide to take it back to their block where Ron (Nick Frost) their resident drug dealer because he is an expert in watching National Geographic documentaries.

Little do they know that the dead creature is an alien and their little murder has just set off a war between wolf-like aliens and human beings.  And danger follows the boys…not just from the aliens.  They can't seem to shake Sam or a pesky duo of boys kicking it wannabe gangsta-style and a hardcore gangster pissed by their continued destruction of his property.  If it helps imagine Super 8 as a comedy and you’ll see where the film is headed.  Tense and full of edge-of-you-seat thrills and belly-shaking laughs, Attack the Block, with its foul-mouthed charm, makes for one hell of a debut from Cornish.

While it isn’t aiming for nostalgia, the film does invite comparisons.  Yet, it’s ingenious in that Attack the Block isn’t playing it safe as a just another irreverent send-off of particular genre’s like zombie films in Shaun of the Dead and buddy cop films in Hot Fuzz (both genius examples of parody, by the way).  No, Attack the Block has an effervescent earnestness that challenges the geeky gonzo moments of science fiction and laugh out-loud hysterics. The gore is unrelenting (heads pop off) and so is this picture’s heart; unbalanced and gloriously frenzied at times.

Cornish doesn’t provide a heart-wrenching reason for the boys drug use and mugging habits.  Only one is needed: they are still learning in a world in which they have nothing.  Hell, they are nothing.  And once they kill the first space creature, they get all the attention they’ll ever want.  Bad boys grow up.  this is where the heart of the picture comes into play, but don’t let me spend too much time on the heart.

You want the blood.  I know you do.  I do, too.  Attack the Block delivers blood and guts and practical effects in an old-school and fairly eloquent manner.  It takes chances with its creature designs and gives the audience something they can see and feel: practical special effects.  Imagine that.  No CGI.  At all.  The creature costumes are hairy and on all fours and menacing calculated in form and function.

Ranking up there with incredible debuts like Quentin Tarantino's Reservoir Dogs, Neil Blomkamp's District 9 and Jason Eisener’s Hobo with a Shotgun, Attack the Block is a smartly-paced play on and merging of genres we simply don’t see of feel all that often anymore.

{2jtab: Film Details}

Attack the Block - Movie ReviewMPAA Rating: R for creature violence, drug content and pervasive language.
: Joe Cornish
: Joe Cornish
Nick Frost; Jodie Whittaker; Luke Treadaway; John Bayega; Adam Leese; Joey Ansah
Genre: Action | Sci-fi
Inner City vs. Outer Space
Memorable Movie Quote: "It's a room, filled with weed, that belongs to Ron..."
Screen Gems
Release Date:
July 29, 2011
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:
No data available.

Synopsis: Attack the Block is a fast, funny, frightening action adventure movie that pits a teen gang against an invasion of savage alien monsters. It turns a London housing estate into a sci-fi playground. A tower block into a fortress under siege. And teenage street kids into heroes. It’s inner city versus outer space.

{2jtab: Blu-ray Review}

Attack the Block - Blu-ray Review

Component Grades

Blu-ray Disc
4 stars

4 stars

Blu-ray Experience
4 stars


Blu-ray Details:

Available on Blu-ray - October 25, 2011
Screen Formats: 2.40:1
: English, English SDH, French
Audio: English: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1; French: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
Discs: 50GB Blu-ray Disc; Single disc (1 BD); BD-Live

With great textures and sound bravado, Sony’s 1080p transfer of what is destined to become a cult classic is an exciting adventure of aliens and acne.  The lightest layer of grain sunkisses this transfer and retains its detail.  While some of the character’s faces get largely ignored when it comes to detail due to the cool colors of the transfer, the bulk of the sets reveal the painstaking level of detail that went into bringing this movie to the big screen.  While there is a bit of overwhelming gray hue to the film and, at times, light banding is evident, the transfer – which includes a rollicking DTS-HD MA 5.1 lossless soundtrack - is pretty solid.



  • Interesting enough, Attack the Block contains no less than three solid and informative commentaries.  Writer/Director Joe Cornish and Actors John Boyega, Alex Esmail, Franz Drameh, Simon Howard, and Leeon Jones provide the first one.  Writer/Director Joe Cornish and Actors Jodie Whittaker, Luke Treadaway, and Nick Frost provide the second one.  Cornish and Executive Producer Edgar Wright provide the film’s final and best commentary.  Each track is lively and each track trades technical jargon for humor and interesting tidbits about the making of the movie.

Special Features:

With an hour long look at the making of the film, Attack the Block starts off with a bang.  The documentary is a fun and fascinating look at the adventure that was the making of the film.  We are exposed to the casting process and the filming of various scenes.  Full of wonderful segments, if the supplemental material ended here, the release would still be a winner.  Shorter features take a look at the members of the gang who encounter the aliens, a fun little rap musical number created by the cast, and some of the cuts that didn’t make the film.  There is also an extended look at the process which went into the making of the creatures that plague the streets.

  • Behind the Block (62 min)
  • Creature Feature (20 min)
  • Meet the Gang (4 min)
  • Unfilmed Action (5 min)
  • That's a Rap (2 min)
  • Theatrical Trailers

{2jtab: Trailer}